The Rylands Charters sequence is a miscellaneous sequence of several thousand deeds, charters and other documents acquired by the former John Rylands Library, from various sources, by gift or purchase. Individual collections vary greatly in size and importance: from extensive archives containing several hundred medieval and early modern deeds, to single documents of minor significance.
The earliest material, from the mid-twelfth century, is to be found in an extensive collection of Cheshire deeds purchased from the Reverend P.G. Langdon (RYCH/1263-1942). These include three charters of the Earls of Chester. There is also a late twelfth-century grant relating to Tottington in Lancashire (RYCH/3409). Thirteen-century material occurs in the Stanley of Alderley deeds, again relating to Cheshire (RYCH/776-913); the Lindsay deeds (RYCH/701-755), among which are grants to Tintern Abbey; a collection of deeds relating to Cheshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire (RYCH/2245-2477); deeds relating to Middleton in Essex (RYCH/26-43); and handfuls of deeds relating to Plympton Priory in Devon and Swavesey Priory in Cambridgeshire (RYCH/44-52).
Geographical coverage is very extensive with every historic county in England being represented. There is also good coverage of north and mid Wales, especially among the Salusbury family deeds (RYCH/914-1262). While Scottish documents are entirely absent, there is slight coverage of Ireland, with documents relating to the counties of Waterford (RYCH/1457, /1473 and /1705), Donegal (RYCH/2467-2477) and Tyrone (RYCH/4631-4635).
Types of document include charters, deeds of conveyance, settlements, mortgages, leases, legal documents, wills and other testamentary records, rentals, manorial records, accounts and miscellaneous papers, such as business documents and Poor Law records.
Among the larger and more significant collections are:
- Deeds relating to the island of Jersey, 1469-1815 (RYCH/65-162);
- A collection of deeds relating to Lancashire, 1593-1843 (RYCH/285-700);
- Deeds relating to Cheshire presented by Lord Stanley of Alderley, 1271-1650 (RYCH/776-913);
- Deeds mainly concerning the Salusbury family, acquired with the Thrale-Piozzi Manuscripts from Mrs R.V. Colman, 1490-1837 (RYCH/914-1262);
- Deeds chiefly concerning properties in Cheshire, particularly townships on the Wirral such as Higher and Lower Bebington, Bromborough, Eastham, Hooton, Mollington, Storeton and Tranmere, purchased from the Rev. P.G. Langdon, c.1130-1857 (RYCH/1263-1942);
- Deeds and manorial records relating to the Aston family of Aston by Sutton in Cheshire, relating prodominantly to Cheshire and acquired from R.H. Linaker esq., 1536-1836 (RYCH/2012-2130);
- Deeds relating to the Hadfield family of Hadfield in Derbyshire, and to properties in Cheshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire, mid-13th century to 1877 (RYCH/2245-2477);
- A collection of deeds, rentals, 'particulars' and other documents relating to Lincolnshire, and to the interests of the banker Sir Robert Clayton MP and his partner alderman John Morris, 1314-1747 (RYCH/2478-2808);
- A collection of predominantly 17th- and 18th-century deeds and documents relating to various places in the Rossendale and Rochdale areas of east Lancashire, particularly Bacup, Brandwood, Haslingden, Newchurch in Rossendale, Rawtenstall, Spotland, Todmorden and Whitworth, presented by G. Calvert esq., 1534-1867 (RYCH/2891-2976);
- Three series of business and legal papers associated with Sir Robert Clayton (1629-1707), MP for the City of London, and his fellow apprentice and partner, Alderman John Morris (d. 1682), 1563-1778 (RYCH/3632-3849);
- Over four hundred leases from Dean Row and Styal in Wilmslow parish, Cheshire, and several manorial records relating to the manor of Bollin cum Norcliffe in Wilmslow, presented by the 10th Earl of Stamford, 1647-1833 (RYCH/3850-4317);
- Records of the township of High Legh in Cheshire, including settlement and removal orders, apprenticeship indentures, constables' accounts, and records of the overseers of the poor and surveyors of highways, 1687-1906 (RYCH/4318-4510);
- A collection of miscellaneous deeds with a wide geographical spread, presented by the executors of Miss Janet Fishwick, 1541-1822 (RYCH/4613-4702).